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Megan Fereday

Closing the inequalities gap: World Day of Social Justice 2020

The theme of the UN’s World Day of Social Justice 2020 is “Closing the Inequalities Gap to Achieve Social Justice”.

The ‘closing the gap’ metaphor is one that that we often use at Commonweal to describe our work. We work to improve the circumstances of those who ‘fall through the gaps’ in mainstream housing provision; the 10 per cent who might still miss out, even when the 90 per cent are provided for.

We look to pilot bold new housing solutions with creative and curious partners, in order to fill those gaps with impactful and, hopefully, replicable projects.

However, we acknowledge that there is no such thing as a single ‘inequalities gap’. Neither is there any one, single route into homelessness. For many, housing instability is a consequence of multiple overlapping disadvantages, which can prevent access to mainstream housing services. This is why we believe that solutions to ‘fill the gaps’ must be as diverse as those who seek them, to ensure no-one gets left behind.

We work with a broad range of partner organisations, with specific expertise in helping marginalised groups: from young adult carers, to women fleeing domestic violence, to people caught up in cycles of homelessness and unemployment.

This week, I spoke to our partners about how our housing-based partnership work helps the people they work with out of the injustices they face. You can read some of their statements below – and read more about the specific projects mentioned here.

Young Adult Carers often come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are increasingly filling the gaps left by austerity and cuts. Their caring responsibilities can leave little opportunity to think about their own lives. Move On Up offers affordable shared housing and support to give young adult carers space and time to think about their aspirations and plan for the future.

Ann Kruyer – Move On Up Project Manager, QSA

Insecure housing means that the people we work with are more likely to become homeless and will then find it more difficult to find any sort of housing. The Peer Landlord London project that we run in partnership with Commonweal allows us to intervene to prevent street homelessness and by providing affordable accommodation support people on a low income to stay in or find work.

Bill Tidnam, CEO Thames Reach

Housing in the Freedom2Work project represents the initial social injustice that our clients battle to overcome. As single and childless adults, our clients all too often find themselves at the bottom of the welfare pile and without a roof over their heads. Our housing means that clients can focus on overcoming the next steps in their journey. Put simply, housing provides the crucial key to unlock the other important social injustices our clients face, and render the future positive again.

Sam Pannell – Project Manager, Freedom2Work
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